JV Boys finish strong

Published 9:43 am Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Davie JV boys basketball team rediscovered its edge against Parkland – and coach Bruce Wallace couldn’t be more pleased at how the season ended.

But before the War Eagles closed the 2016-17 book on a high note, they endured back-to-back losses.

They put up a good fight but lost 57-55 at Mt. Tabor on Feb. 7. The ending, unfortunately, looked very familiar. They dropped to 0-5 in games decided by three points or less, including a 63-61 decision to Tabor on Jan. 12 when the Spartans hit a buzzer-beater. The other defeats by razor-thin margins came against Kannapolis, Reynolds and Reagan.

“We played well, but we missed 10 layups,” Wallace said after the Tabor game. “Six of them were wide-open layups. We were going up scared against them.”

Davie trailed by five at the end of the first quarter, by two at halftime and by six after the third. It came up with 18 fourth-quarter points, yet its rotten luck in down-to-the-wire games continued.

Tabor went to the free-throw line with seven seconds left, protecting the 57-55 lead. The foul shot missed and Elijah Wood rebounded. He passed to Troy Griggs, but Griggs could not get a shot off before the final horn.

“They’re tough to guard because they’ve got the two Muse twins who can shoot it and they’ve got three kids who can beat us off the dribble,” he said. “We had to go small and we played pretty good.”

Tabor restricted Brooks Johnson (eight points) to his lowest output in 13 games, but Griggs (15) and Wood (12) stepped up to keep Davie in contention. Wood went off after a scoreless first half.

“We challenged Elijah at halftime to play bigger and stronger, and he did that,” Wallace said.


The game at Reagan on Feb. 8 was a stinker for the War Eagles, who were routed 58-41. It was the worst margin of defeat all season.

Davie trailed 25-17 at halftime. Wood’s big second quarter was the reason the War Eagles weren’t blown out of the gym. He accounted for 11 of their 12 points in the second, including a trio of 3-pointers.

But the Raiders slowly pulled away, the margin expanding to 12 in the third and growing more in the fourth.

Wood had 15 points, Griggs 11 and Matt James five.


The War Eagles needed something to go right in the final game  against visiting Parkland on Feb. 10, and they succeeded, winning 61-46 over an opponent that defeated everyone in the Central Piedmont Conference at least once – except Davie, which pummeled Parkland by 30 on Jan. 13.

The only thing bigger than the basket was Johnson’s eyes. The freshman gunner got back to his smooth-shooting self after totalling 11 points in the previous two games. In the first quarter, Johnson buried two 3-pointers and Wood connected once from distance as Davie took a 10-9 lead. Johnson’s 10-point second quarter vaulted Davie to a 29-25 halftime advantage.

But the momentum swung to the Mustangs in the third, their 14-6 spurt lifting them in front 39-35. Johnson had Davie’s lone field goal in the third.

Wallace had a message for his boys before the start of the fourth: “This is the fourth quarter and this is the last game that you’ll play in this gym. It’s winning time. I think the adrenalin kicked in a little bit more. We just wanted it more.”

The fourth was all Davie. Griggs had nine points, including 5-for-5 foul shooting. Johnson hit 5 of 6 free throws. Wood contributed two buckets as Davie mashed Parkland 26-7 in the final eight minutes. With Davie leading by four, freshman Aaron Williams delivered the backbreaker on a corner 3-pointer. He scored all six of his points when it mattered most.

“He made a big 3,” Wallace said. “Once that happened, we just kept going and the momentum was on our side. That was probably his second or third 3 of the year. When he’s open, he can knock them down. We’ve been telling him all year to shoot it. You can knock it down.”

Johnson finished with 24 points, going 5-for-6 from 3-point range and recording 20-plus for the fifth time. It was the third time he’s drained five triples. Wood (12 points) flourished down the stretch, averaging 13 over three games. Griggs had 11.

“If there was a JV all-conference team, Troy and Brooks probably would have been all-conference,” Wallace said.

The win secured Wallace’s third winning season in as many years as Davie’s coach. Davie finished 10-9 overall and 5-7 in the CPC. Wallace’s first two teams went 11-10 and 10-9. It’s the first three-year string of winning seasons since Terry Mitchell guided Davie to 14-6, 17-4 and 13-10 from 2003-04 through 2005-06.

“Parkland beat every team in the conference besides us,” Wallace said. “And we only got blown out of one game (Reagan).”

Johnson (14.6 average), Griggs (12.4) and Wood (10.2) were responsible for 67 percent of the offense.

Tabor 57, Davie 55 – Troy Griggs 15, Elijah Wood 12, Brooks Johnson 8, Matt James 6, Alex Ratledge 6, Aaron Williams 4, Latham Chamberlain 2, Samuel Hendrix 2.

Reagan 58, Davie 41 – Elijah Wood 15, Troy Griggs 11, Matt James 5, Brooks Johnson 3, Latham Chamberlain 2, Alex Ratledge 2, Samuel Hendrix 2, Aaron Williams 1.

Davie 61, Parkland 46 – Brooks Johnson 24, Elijah Wood 12, Troy Griggs 11, Aaron Williams 6, Samuel Hendrix 3, Justice Redmon 2, James Reid 2, Alex Ratledge 1.